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MyHeritage.com / probable relationship estimates are still faulty

1 United States
Contact information:

Account ID: [protected]
This has been going on for over two years with some improvement but still in error.
My full sibling sister, our mother and I have all submitted DNA to this site. They correctly matched both of us to our mother.
Initially they called my probable relationship with my sister "grandparent/grandchild". I called to complain that they didn't even take birth year into account or they would have seen that was impossible. I got nowhere with anyone in fixing it.
Several months later they changed it to "uncle/niece". This was also impossible because they had already matched both of us to our mother.
Finally recently they corrected it again and it now says "sister or niece". Again niece is impossible because we are matched to the same mother.
it is apparent this is happening because their algorithm seems to be based only on % shared DNA and they list this as 30+%, low for siblings but within the range. that's why they added niece because that relationship averages 25%. But again it should have been eliminated because of the mutual mother match. Even this low shared DNA % is suspect. In 23andme and one other company it is about 43%. I realize depending on test used it can vary but this amount of difference is suspect. It's also the reason they keep getting the relationship wrong. when are they going to use a more accurate algorithm?

  • MyHeritage Customer Care's Response, Oct 17, 2018

    Dear MyHeritage member,

    I am sorry to read your low star review and would like to offer an explanation regarding how DNA matches are generated.

    In order to calculate DNA matches, MyHeritage uses three different parameters.:
    Shared DNA: shows you the percentage of DNA that overlaps between you and the other person.

    Shared Segments: A segment is a piece of your DNA sequence. You and your DNA Match share a certain number of these segments in common, and some of them are longer than others.

    Largest segments: Among the different-sized shared segments, the length of the largest segment you and the other person have in common can help you identify the likelihood that you are actually related.

    You can learn more about these parameters here: http://www.myheritage.com/help-center#/path/951696241.

    Based on these calculations we provide a range of possible genetic relations. If the matched individual is not associated with the same family tree, we provide all the possible relations within the range of DNA matches. Other providers indeed might use different methods to calculate DNA matches and therefore it is recommended to research all the DNA information that is available for the DNA match in question.

    If you have any further questions, feel free to email me at shane.vipsupport@myheritage.com and I would be happy to assist you.

    Kind regards,
    Shane, MyHeritage Team

  • Updated by fredlorey, Oct 17, 2018

    Thanks Shane. I appreciate your response. I understand how you use these parameters to estimate probable relationships. I am a geneticist myself. I guess what I'm trying to say is by using these alone, and not looking at demographic factors such as year of birth etc, or other close matches in your database of those individuals, it makes your algorithm incomplete when it could easily be refined and have avoided these obvious errors. For example in the first match the probable relationship was called grandparent/grandchild. I understand how that could be a first level possibility based on your parameters, but all MH would have had to have done is look at our ages and see we are seven years apart so that relationship is impossible. Then it was changed to uncle/niece. This too was impossible because MH had already matched my sister and I to our mother. Finally on the third attempt, it now says sister, but it also still says niece, still impossible. I would also say I've had this particular sisters and my DNA done at two other companies and they had no trouble matching us as brother/sister without all these extraneous and impossible relationships. It makes me distrust any results from MH. I just wanted to explain further. You do not need to respond unless I am missing something. Thank you.

Fr
Oct 11, 2018

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